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Automate with AutoText in Word

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Want to know a secret? Some of the best automations you can make in your business are the littlest ones.

Tiny, incremental steps that each give you back time and energy to move forward. Layered on top of each other, working in perfect harmony.

And you can start today - with one of my favourite hacks of all: AutoText in Microsoft Word!

Let me break it down for you in plain and simple terms, just like we like it:

What is AutoText?

AutoText is a nifty feature of Microsoft Word that allows you to save and reuse snippets of text with just a few clicks. It means you get to store your most commonly used phrases, sentences, or even entire paragraphs at your fingertips whenever you need them.

Why you should care:

  1. Save Time and Effort: If you are currently preparing documents by having lots of other 'reference' documents open to copy and paste standard text, definitions or sections from ... then this is the sign you have been looking for! With AutoText, you can insert pre-written and formatted content instantly - from inside your current document - cutting down on the time and brainpower needed to flick from document to document, and ensure you copy from the right one, and paste in the correct space!

  2. Consistency is Key: You want your business to have a consistent voice and image. The kind that makes you look like the expert I know you are - and the kind that your audience want to connect with! AutoText ensures that your words and messaging are uniform across all of your documents.  Say goodbye to inconsistency, and hello to an on-brand professional, polished look.

  3. No Tech Degree Required: You don't have the time or inclination to become a tech-head, and that's totally fine! Auto-Text is super easy to use, and doesn't require any specialised skills or certifications. You don't even need to download anything extra to get started - it's already waiting inside your copy of Microsoft Word! You can start using it right away, without any hassle.

What would I know?

Just recently, I was working with someone who was doing exactly what you are doing now - keeping all of the 'standard' content in a master file, and copying in to her new document as she was writing it. Over and over again. Back and forth. Gah - such a waste of valuable time.

ūüí° So she booked a call with me, and we were working out the best way to save her time and energy. And still get the right result.

At first, I had a lot of ideas racing around ... but then it hit me! Stop overcomplicating things. Go back and look at what you have. 

We created AutoText entries for each item in her master document (it was a list of definitions that her reports refer to in the footnotes for the reader). And suddenly, she's got the content right there, insider her document, waiting for her if and when she wants it. 

She's now got a streamlined workflow, that saves time, and keeps everything consistent with her brand. Effortlessly.

Ready to get started?

Identify Your Common Text: Take a moment to identify the phrases or paragraphs you use frequently in your business documents. These could be greetings, signatures, product descriptions, or anything else you find yourself typing repeatedly. Or, you might have a list of 'master' statements or content that you copy from already (which means you've done the bulk of the work in advance!).

Create Your AutoText Entries: In Microsoft Word, highlight the text you want to save as an AutoText entry. If you want to go the extra mile at this point, make sure it's all formatted with the correct colours, fonts and alignment that you would typically use too. Then:

  • For PC users:¬†Press¬†ALT + F3. This opens the¬†Create New Building Block¬†dialog box. Most of the default values are fine, but you should include a unique name and description to make the AutoText easier for your find and use later.
  • For my Mac users:¬†go to the Insert¬†tab from the top menu bar, choose AutoText and then select¬†New. The pop up box will let you create a title for your AutoText entry, and it will save into your AutoText list.

Use Your AutoText: Whenever you need to insert that text again:

  • PC: Go to¬†Insert, then¬†Quick Parts, and then¬†AutoText to¬†choose your AutoText entry¬†
  • Mac:¬†Go to¬†Insert, then¬†AutoText, and then¬†AutoText again to choose from the list available.

Your list of AutoText entries will always be in alphabetical order!

TOP TIP:¬†Group similar AutoText entries together by using a naming convention. As an example, my client I mentioned before? Making her new AutoText entries all start with "DEF:" before the actual entry title, meant they were all grouped together under DEF - so she could scroll through them easily!¬†ūüėČ

Check out this quick video I've done, showing you how quickly you can automate your documents (note: I'm working on a Mac, using the desktop version of Word):

 

So there you have it. AutoText in Microsoft Word is your ticket to feeling in control of your business and saving yourself precious time. You can streamline your processes, ensure consistency, and get back to what you do best ‚Äď running your business.

Isn't it time you took back control of what you spend your time and energy on in your day? Automating your documents by using AutoText is a brilliant way to take one of those small, but mighty, steps towards streamlining your workflows.

As your friendly Microsoft 365 magician, I’m ready and waiting to help you get started on your Microsoft journey.  Click HERE to book a time to chat that works for you - let’s make some Microsoft magic!

Want to start, but don't have Microsoft 365 yet? Click HERE to compare business subscription plans to find the best solution for YOU!

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- BLOG AUTHOR - 

Marianne Tansley

Marianne is your fast-talking, cheese-loving 'Microsoft Magician' and Online Business Manager (OBM) at Thrive Admin Services. Based in Hervey Bay, QLD, with her husband and their two dogs (Eli and Skye), she's a natural problem-solver, with a knack for seeing both the big picture and the small steps needed to make it a reality.

With over 20 years' corporate admin experience, she specialises in working with administration professionals and professional services business owners to share the tips, tricks and features inside your existing Microsoft 365 subscription to create the systems and processes of your dreams! It's all about reducing the overwhelm, frustration and heavy tech-talk, to create common-sense practical systems and processes that make sense to you! After all, sharing is caring!

2023-04 Marianne Framed (Bright Green)

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